S2Episode14 Confidence, Professionalism And Inner Authority

January 31, 2024

Good morning from Milano. I’m sitting here reflecting on a fun, cool experience I had this week. I decided that it was time to do a photo shoot to get fresh images. I’ve been redoing the website and the photo that’s staring back at me is a reflection of a past life. I was in a different time and place in my life, and I was a different person in 2014 or 2015 when that photo was taken. I really want an image that reflects the modern mature woman I am today, right?

So of course I called my buddy Eric and told him I was looking for a photographer. He said here’s the name of the woman that shot me for the New York Times, followed by good enough for the New York times, good enough for me. And I’m like, yeah, me too. Simply with that, I connected with the photographer. I don’t even think I Googled her, at that point.

The time comes for our chat. I tell her who I am, what I’m looking for, and she tells me how she works. We start throwing out a few dates, and then of course the time comes to ask her about her fee. Now, I have absolutely no point of reference whatsoever. She starts giving me a couple numbers and then she says something to me like is that okay with you? Is that too much? To be honest, my antenna started buzzing, and I said to her, well what do you think is the fair price?She immediately told me the price, and I said, perfect. Let’s go with that. I could almost feel it through the phone when she sighed as she thanked me.

Then the day comes to shoot, but I still know nothing about her. Anyway, the moment I opened the door, the magic began, and we had a lot of fun. But I noticed the photographer asking my permission a couple of times throughout the shoot. Her sentence would start something with, is it okay? Do you mind? That kind of thing. So anyway, at the end we left together and as we’re walking down the street, I said something to her like would you be open to some feedback? And she said, yes, I’d love it. And I said something like I noticed that you stumbled when we got to talking about price on the phone. And she immediately said, Yes, and I noticed your response. I pointed out to her that when I said the word fair, asking the question what do you think is fair, she didn’t hesitate for a minute. In other words, she knows her value. And I said, I think it’s really time that you own your worth, that you stand in your professionalism. And she said, I know I always stumble when it comes to money. I laughed and I said, yeah, you and everybody else, but let me help you here.

I proceed to point out to her that she immediately started to negotiate with herself. When I asked you what you thought was fair, you didn’t hesitate for a moment. You were quick, clear, and confident. Also, I tried to convey to her that as a client, I want to do something great. And my desire is that the professional –   the person that has honed their craft, that has done the work, owns their worth and gives me – the client – confidence. I wanted her to e in command, to tell me what to do and what to expect. I wanted her to make it an experience for me, which she did. We had an incredibly fun time.

I said when I called you, I already had the assumption that you were good and that you were a solid professional. But you actually created a little bit of doubt for me at the very moment when I wanted to hear the clarity and confidence of the professional I was calling.

She said, you know, it’s a cultural thing. Italians are always asking for a discount.And I laughed and I said, you don’t think I know that? I know that. I think you’re over anticipating that and you start negotiating with yourself precisely at the moment when you have to be firm and clear.

In my view, she was having anticipatory anxiety about how she was going to react when they asked her for a discount. And in anticipating that moment, she led with her unwillingness to feel uncomfortable and offered a discount before I even asked for it which I didn’t accept, as I mentioned at the outset.

I want to end with something today that may seem a little bit unrelated to this story. It’s about over anticipating other people’s reactions.  When we overthink someone else’s reaction – which can also be about the small things like fear we’re going to let somebody down because we changed our mind about going to dinner or to some event or on a vacation – often our tendency is to say I know you’re going to be bummed about this or. I feel terrible that I’m letting you down. And while that may be true, it’s almost like you make it about the other person instead of simply stating the facts.  I’m sorry things have been really hectic and I need to get a good night’s sleep and I’m going to have to ask you for a rain check for dinner. I think you get what I’m trying to say.

It really does come down to catching yourself, right? It’s funny because I used to always say when I’m talking to someone – and I’m sure I still do sometimes – when I’m talking to someone, I’ll say I know you’re going think…. Or, I know you’re going to say… and I remember one day someone important in my life said to me, don’t tell me what I think.

It was a moment of whoa, you’re right. I was in fact over anticipating their response and it irritated them. Like I said, I’m sure I still do it sometimes, but I do try to catch myself.

I realize it may seem somewhat unrelated to anticipate someone asking you for a discount and to let down someone over dinner, but they’re two sides of the same coin. In both cases it’s about our tendency to over anticipate someone’s reaction. It’s not up to us to anticipate or determine somebody else’s reaction. We can only own side of the equation. I guess what it comes down to is when we know or suspect in advance that something is going to solicit an unwanted or an uncomfortable response, the best thing to do is to stop for a minute. Take time to think through the best way to present our case. It really does come down to simply being clear and concise in what you’ve decided or what you want and how you’re communicating it, and it’s best to make it all about that not about the other person.

In the case of the photographer, it’s up to her to stand in her self-esteem and her professionalism and professional integrity. It’s not up to others to confer that upon her. When you start negotiating your own professionalism, or your own inner authority, you’re conferring too much power on other people. It really comes down to us to stand in our choices and to stand in our truth. It really is that clear and simple, and it’s not always easy.I think this is a challenge that we come back to in life over and over again. So there you have it.

Before I end today, I would like to remind you that this Sunday, February 4th at 4 p. m. Eastern standard time is the first call for our rocket fuel group. If you’ve stumbled upon this and you’re curious to know what that’s all about, and if you’d like to be part of that, go on www.dearconstance. com. There’s a page called rocket fuel and there’s a brief two minute message to tell you what that’s all about.

So, I hope to see some of you on Sunday. That’s all for now. Until next time, from my heart to yours.

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dear Listeners,

Friends say I live my life out loud. That’s because I’m a curious, adventurous person and, as an appreciator, I simply love to share what lights me up. Consider this is your invitation into my fun, multi-faceted world.

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